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Shuffle-side swing


Old man has a certain shuffle-side swing step walk

Some might consider he is listening to music in this routine

But it is from endless nights bedded down in slabs of concrete

Beneath pigeons nesting in the underbelly of roads leading nowhere.


The endless ‘rump-rump’ of cars and 18-wheelers, rattle above,

Kids in hybrids laughing in the back seat, Billy pulling Susie’s hair

Mom screaming at the top of her lungs, dad jerking mental thoughts

Trying to drown out the noise of useless banter, like sirens howling.


The misery is endless and the cardboard mattress serves its purpose

Some small fuel for the fire of sanity burning away, the core is gone

But the old man has a song in his head, the song of the world

Constantly spinning to his beat, a certain side-shuffle swing step.


His grocery bag must be molted from the inside out,

Bits of everyday stuffed safely away like the NY Times neatly rolled

Beneath his head at night, talking about some stock market crash in 1987

And here it is, 20 goddamned years of dirt piled on his pants later.


In 20 years, it might be I, shuffling aimless, poet of past and future discord

Mumbling toothless, raising a fist full of fingerless glove, ever skyward

Shaking it at the mainstream of dis-merica, one finger proudly saluting

While a can of tomato paste is hurdled from some hidden alley at my head.

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